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Gainesville letters to the editor for Nov. 3, 2021

Century Tower on the University of Florida campus.

Caved to pressure 

Obviously, University of Florida administrators caved to pressure from Tallahassee when they decreed UF faculty barred from testifying because their testimony might undermine DeSantis’ efforts to suppress voting by Democratic, especially African American, Florida citizens. 

By caving, the UF administration exposed itself to censure by the American Association of University Professors. When censured by AAUP in the 1970s for transgressing established academic standards, it took the administration two years to have that badge of national indistinction lifted, and then only after resolving several other violations that surfaced during the AAUP’s investigation. Credit largely goes to efforts by Acting President E.T. York and Vice President Harold Hansen, assisted by members of the Florida AAUP chapter.

The present UF administration also bought itself a losing lawsuit. The faculty in question were clearly addressing a matter of public concern, and doing so not as employees, but as expert witnesses. Barring their testimony also would deny the court and public the benefit of their professional knowledge and analysis of relevant facts and law. 

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